Why Bother? Anthony Ferrier on Innovation and Training Employees

Filed Under Innovation

Arwen Heredia

January 7, 2014

Anthony Ferrier of InnovatingNYC recently wrote a post concerning the idea of innovation as a learned activity. He asked, “Can we train our existing staff to identify, build and execute innovative ideas within the current organizational structure?”

For many companies, a shift in culture and structure is proving critical to managing innovation efforts properly; traditional hierarchies make transparency difficult, and deploying processes across the enterprise complex and disjointed.

Incentivizing Innovation

But Ferrier isn’t sold on that level of disruption, stating that “Pretty much any employee can learn the main skills needed to identify, build and execute innovative ideas, even within large, mature and conservative organizations. The big caveat here is that those employees need to have the appropriate infrastructure, training and incentives to support their efforts, which can be difficult in a large organization.” Furthermore, in a follow-up piece, he asks why we’d even bother to do so in the first place, when stuffing a concept like innovation into a box is both counter-intuitive and challenging. From the latest:

“Why bother training people? Why spend the time, money and resources to get your staff upskilled on a concept as nebulous as innovation?

Before proceeding I want to make an important point. As mentioned in my previous article, there is no shortage of training available for executives on how to establish and build innovation programs within large companies. Today’s article will specifically focus on why bother training your middle management and more junior level employees around how to be innovative, rather than how to manage innovation. Examples of training areas could include approaches to surfacing and sorting ideas, researching and presenting those ideas in a format that can be accepted by the organization, building coalitions for ideas and execution plans to build those ideas, etc.”

Ferrier goes on in detail about why it’s so key to train employees in innovation concepts and practices, including benefits extending to ROI, engagement, and networking. Visit his blog or read the full post here.